Pepper Allergy, etc.

oceanbabyJune 3, 2009

We have a good friend who is terriby allergic to the vegetable pepper - amongst other things - hair spray, window clearer, carpet cleaner,perfume, sun tan lotion, candles, dried flowers,clorine. Peppers seem to bother her the most - she can't eat them and can't be to close to the the area where they are being served. We were at a large community event recently, sitting near an open door which she requested and the dishes for the party were heated and the top of the one dish with peppers (sausage and peppers) was about to be opened in a hallway a distance from where we were seated. She knew peppers were on the menu. Before she fled the room she said the raising of the top of the dish all at once caused her to smell the peppers causing this terrible problem making her tremble, anxious,nauseus, feeling she was going to throw up and givng her a terrible headache.She had to be driven home.

It's starting to cause problems with close friends as it seems something always happens when we are together - perfume, hair spray, sun tan lotion and she runs off missing out on a nice afternoon. These are things most women use or have to use. We are getting the feeling that she feels we and our development realize her problems but are not changing our lives to accommodate her.

She's said she tried everything, been to an allergist, but nothing helps and to me it seems it is ruining her life and friendships. We really, really don't want to upset or offend her but I was thinking perhaps a psychiatrist could help with the anxiety. Then again there could be a simple remedy that she's not trying.

Never having an allergy I knew people couldn't eat certain food but did not know the smell would have such a terrible effect.

Any suggestions, thoughts, etc. as we feel it is getting worse?? Thanks very much.

She sort of gets a little on the defensive if we make any suggestions but she's a wonderful person, a good friend and we would really like to help. Thanks very much.

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First of all, a psychiatrist isn't going to help your friend with her "anxiety".

She has several allergies that are affecting her and her "anxiety" as you call it is fully warranted.

Those with various types of allergies can be extremely sensitive to even the slightest smell of the offending allergen.

Whether it is food, perfume scents, pollens, anxiety can and is part of the reaction, especially emotionally, to the risk of exposure.

As with those who are allergic to peanuts or any type of nuts, it can be traumatic, dangerous and a life or death situation for them to just be in the same room with peanuts or near someone that has just eaten peanuts or any type of nut or nut product.

Your friend did err in being in a room or at the table with food being served that had peppers in it, when she knew the offending allergen was going to be present.

There are more people than you realize that are allergy affected by various chemicals as well.

We live in a society that has put various scents into almost every product that it can possibly be put in.
That alone has created a great deal of the problem.

I myself am amazed by the various processes that are used in every day products that people use and often wonder why the industry has gone to this type of extreme.

Just a daily example is this.

A person bathes with a soap that has one scent. Then puts on anti-persperant with a second scent, skin lotion with a 3rd, clothes that have been washed in a 4th and dried with a 5th scent. Proceeds to do hair that has been washed in a 6th scent, had creme rinse used with possibly a 7th scent. Then continues to do hair with a hair spray with an 8th scent and tops at scents off with a 9th scent by using perfume.

You are talking about the combo of potentially 9 different scents and maybe more if makeup is used that is also got some scent to it.

Then that person exposes themselves to others that are sensitive to any one of those scents or a various combo of them.

Various perfumed scents or scents of food can and are highly allergenic to many, many people.

I myself, as are my 2 adult children, very sensitive to various odors that are present in cleaning products, soaps, laundry detergents, perfumes and have found that it is necessary to use within our own homes, products that have no scent or very little scent.

There was a time when both my daughter and myself could not walk past the various makeup and perfume counters in department stores without getting extremely sick; ranging from coughing, sneezing, watery eyes to breathing difficulties and once my daughter had a severe asthma attack and need to be taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Your friend gets defensive when you make a suggestion because she is suffering herself from the affects this is having on her life with others, her friends and limiting her time outside.

It is quite possible that she is getting worse because of continued exposure to the offending allergens.

You might suggest that she try seeing another allergist since the one she saw did not help her. You might suggest that she see an allergist that is well versed in environmental allergens as well.

As for your relationship with her and being with her, why not try not using perfume when you are with her. Cut down on the use of so many scented products, ask her what you specifically can do to make it easier for her to be with all of you. Ask her if she knows if there are specific scents that you are using that may or may not be causing a problem for her?
You can try using unscented hairspray, suntan lotions, no perfume.

But, please remember this is not a psychiatric problem that your friend has, it is a very serious medical problem that she has.
Her body actually has turned against her and is causing her serious problems. She has, what is called, an immune imbalance. It is not her fault and she has to deal with the problem and hopefully find a way to function around others.

In the mean time, try and be understanding an supportive to your friend. She is having a horrible time herself and it sure isn't an enjoyable way to have to live.

And also, a psychiatrist is not going to help her with her allergic problems.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 10:47AM
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